Arrested For Disorderly Conduct In Okaloosa County?
In Okaloosa County, particularly in beach towns of Fort Walton Beach and Destin, we have seen an increase in the number of Disorderly Conduct arrests in recent years.
Since the charge itself is somewhat ambiguous, it is considered to be a “public safety catch all” for law enforcement when they want to arrest someone but they are unsure of what crime they have committed.
Sometimes referred to as Breach of Peace, police commonly charge this offense when called to the scene of bar fights or brawls, loud house parties, or any other type of “public disturbance.”
Disorderly Conduct Defined
But by definition, Disorderly Conduct occurs when a person commits an act that by nature, corrupts the public morals, or outrages the public’s sense of decency, or affects the peace and quiet of persons who may witness the act, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of peace or disorderly conduct.
What are the potential penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
According to Florida Statutes, the crime of Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor of the second degree, which means that the maximum sentence is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
How does a Defense Attorney approach a Disorderly Conduct case?
Disorderly conduct has a vague and ambiguous definition which can allow law enforcement to liberally apply to establish probable cause for a criminal arrest. However, the legal standard of proof is much lower at the arrest stage than at the trial stage, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.
Because of this difference, a capable defense attorney can be more aggressive in arguing these types of cases before a jury. Simply being loud, annoying, or using bad language or profanity is normally not enough to support a conviction for Disorderly Conduct. Additionally, you may be able to assert your Constitutional right to free speech under the First Amendment.
The other major consideration is the location of the alleged conduct. Clearly, at a party, bar, or music festival, or public protest there is a different standard or expectation of conduct than at a church, school, or library. These are some of the important issues that must be addressed when you discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you or a family member has been arrested for Disorderly Conduct anywhere in Okaloosa County, particularly Destin or Fort Walton Beach, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation.